Well winter is well and truly upon us and race day patrons, public and Members, are staying away in droves.
I have attended recent ATC meetings, but haven’t bothered to go into the Members, just had a wander around to see the massive areas vacant, tote areas unmanned, bars unopened and just generally, sad, depressing race days.
It is embarrassing to walk past bars, with staff staring out, with almost nothing to do, almost begging you to buy a drink.
Last Saturday, I arrived at Rosehill, about 10 or so minutes before gate opening time and again, like dutiful, obedient school children, patiently waited to be told we may enter by a staff member.
Once inside, I snared my favourite table in the Thermos Brigade area and I noticed that no work had commenced on the refurbishment. Two reasonably new Members that I met several meetings ago at Rosehill arrived and we chatted. The last time I saw them they were having guests down from the country and had booked a table in TJ’s. They mentioned how bad the service was on the day, amongst other complaints, and had written a letter to the Club, but never received an acknowledgement or reply.
I mentioned that some time ago I had ripped my shirt at Rosehill, forms filled in and never heard a word again. So I told them their experience was not unusual. You see, if a complaint is ignored by staff, eventually it will go away and staff have won and so, the cycle continues. Ignore it and it will go away, only do as much as you have to and can get away with.
Trouble is, some organisations have, to their detriment, found that ignoring complaints will lead to a backlash, especially with social media the way it is.
With venues, they can be full and popular one minute and literally overnight, be empty and closed. Think The Stables and Keystone.
Anyway, I then went for a wander and discovered the Champagne Bar was open and free as no bookings had been received, so myself and the new Members went upstairs. What a desolate area a race course is without patrons.
I try and keep my ear to the ground and try to keep abreast of what is going on, especially with the ATC.
I have long believed and stated that staff run the ATC, not the Committee. The Committee quickly distance themselves from anything day to day or mundane. Their eyes glaze over when confronted with Members expectations versus reality. Staff make the decisions that we as Members have to abide by, put up with and are stuck with.
More often than not, these decisions are what suits them and their convenience, not Members.
In August, next month, the Member forums commence. Seriously. No seriously. Why would you, as a Member, bother ? I’ll tell you who will turn up. The free sandwich brigade, little old ladies and a couple of really concerned and pissed off Members.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the first two, really ! I just wish 2 things – 1. That they actually spoke up, like they do between themselves on race days and other gatherings about their issues with the ATC and 2. That more Members would avail themselves of their opportunity to be heard, good, bad or indifferent.
No doubt the Committee will have some Member there extolling the Committee’s virtues.
I again say, mediocrity should not be rewarded with complacency, otherwise the mediocrity will perpetuate.
Apparently, I’m not taken seriously, and that’s fine with me, so long as my credibility is intact, I don’t care, but can the same be said about the ATC, as a whole ?
It is now 8 months after the ATC AGM and what have we heard ? The sound of crickets and frogs, that’s what.
Julia Ritchie is kidding herself if she thinks she is actually getting anywhere. Staff are just nodding at appropriate times, knowing that the status quo will remain. She is running around putting out scrub fires, not building fire breaks.
Oh of course we did receive in May, an email from the Chairman announcing the NEW QUARTERLY UPDATE FROM THE BOARD, that included, um, updates. Piss and wind.
Announcements have been made before and . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Sorry, dozed off for a second.
Whatever happened about the hotel to be built at the end of the Officials Stand ? What is really going on with the Inglis/Warwick Farm business ? Has it been sold, did we get the money ?
Look, the list goes on . . .
Maybe the August forums will be the announcement of the new Members loyalty scheme . . . yawn.
The AJC had a loyalty scheme that lasted no time, yet the Melbourne Clubs have been running them for years, successfully.
Whatever the ATC comes up with, it will only be what staff want or are prepared to concede.
No doubt the term, “ after much consultation . . . yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. “ Yawn again.
I’m really looking forward to being able to write something positive . . . oh look, a pig just flew past . . .
I’m guessing that this Saturday at Royal Randwick, only the new stand will be open. Which is fair enough, considering the crowd.
Maybe they should hold a wake, they seem to draw a crowd.
Good luck and good punting.